Poetry

Can I?

Can I?

I ask myself this everyday

Can I?

Be someone proud

Can I?

Be someone who goes to Japan

A dream within a dream

Living outside

An existential crisis

Can I?

Live with being me

A contradiction 

Up and down

Travel or no

Paralysed

Frozen inbetween

Can I?

Be a father

A man to lead generations

Children who look up

To the guy who was meant to lead the way

I don’t know

I’m drowning

In indecision

I’m shattered

Pick myself back together

Can I?

Survive the pandemic

Living alone

It’s scary

I feel the weight

Unknown shadows

On my shoulders

Can I?

Be the man

Inside my mind

Samurai 

Connection to culture

Can I?

Keep moving

Uncertainty

I cry

Can I?

Breathe

I’m suffocating

Can I?

Live with myself

Can I?

Not be drunk

Making excuses

Can I?

Listen to myself

Find the answer

Can I?

Bear the pain

Move beyond suicide

Can I?

Explore Hokkaido

Eat ramen in an izakaya

Drink sake in a brewery

Be the gaijn in Roppongi

Dance awkwardly to K-pop

Dive into Kyushu

Drinking shochu

Can I?

Lie on a beach in Okinawa

Speak of the habushu myth

In bars with old men

Still trying to get it up

Can I?

Sip awamori

See kame

Melded before me

Can I?

Accept the things

That can’t be controlled

I don’t know

I’m trying

Forgive me

I will

One day

I see the dawn

Rising

Can I?

I can

Completed

A dream

Reality

The life I’m living

At last

I’m here

Peace

I’m living

A feeling

Without fear

Amazing

Clear eyes

Blue skies

The future is bright 

Guest Posts

Guest Post: Hikikomori During A Pandemic

The great lockdown of 2020 shocked the world, and will forever leave a mark on those living through this iconic time. The rate at which COVID-19 spread, caused many people around the world to live under social restrictions to avoid unnecessary human interactions. An almost impossible task, while living in the 21st century, but not for everyone.

Japan’s hikikomori are those who shut away from the normalities of life such as work, school, friends, hobbies, and socialising in general. It translates to ‘pulling inward’ and often referred to as ‘modern-day hermits.’

Continue reading “Guest Post: Hikikomori During A Pandemic”

Pop Culture and Japan

4 Ways In Which Sake Has Helped My Mental Health

 

Discovering new hobbies is a great technique for developing a positive mental health routine and in my case it’s been sake. Since setting off on my journey into the world of nihonshu, I’ve found it’s been a positive experience during times of poor mental health and I wanted to share four ways in which it’s helped.

Continue reading “4 Ways In Which Sake Has Helped My Mental Health”

Pop Culture and Japan

Punching Depression In The Face: An Exploration Of Mental Health In One-Punch Man

In recent years, mental health has become an important debate that people are discussing all over the globe. Men and women are opening up about their experiences with conditions like anxiety, but despite this progress, there is still an ingrained stigma attached to mental health, with many choosing to suffer in silence.

Creative mediums such as TV and comics can drive the discussion about mental health and help to break down the stigma of talking about it in public. By seeing fictional characters go through relatable struggles, fans might feel inspired to share their experiences with others and make positive steps towards managing a disorder.

A franchise that does an excellent job of portraying mental health in pop culture is One-Punch Man. With a mixture of comic and celebrity culture themes, One-Punch Man follows the story of Saitama, the most powerful superhero in the world who is on a mission to find an opponent worth fighting.

But for all of Saitama’s strength, he has constantly battled with depression and it’s proven to be the only opponent he cannot defeat with one punch. Mental health is one of the most important themes of One Punch Man, so let’s explore it in greater depth. Continue reading “Punching Depression In The Face: An Exploration Of Mental Health In One-Punch Man”

Pop Culture and Japan

5 Powerful Japanese Concepts For Creating A Positive Mental Health Routine

When developing a positive mental health routine for yourself, it’s worth looking to other cultures for inspiration. Japan has various philosophies that can help to make life brighter and more enjoyable. Whether it’s learning to appreciate small pleasures or choosing to be kinder to yourself, here are five Japanese concepts that promote positive mental health. Continue reading “5 Powerful Japanese Concepts For Creating A Positive Mental Health Routine”

Poetry

Great Wave

When Hokusai painted his Great Wave off Kanagawa

I wonder if he was painting what depression would look like for future generations?

Because that’s what depression is: a wave with claws

It rears up without warning

A tsunami of anxiety that swirls in the depths

A living, breathing thing as fathomless as nature

It crashes over you without rhyme or reason

It washes away everything you’ve built

And leaves you drowning in the wreckage

It casts you adrift on tides of uncertainty

Alone, even when there’s life all around you

The wave will come again

But you can ride it out with the people who know you best

They’ll be waiting with their lifelines

To pull you free

To stop you from drowning

To help you breathe again

Oubaitori Life

Oubaitori Life: Saitama

Oubaitori Life is a series that celebrates the richness of Japanese philosophy. It follows the lives of different characters and how they would apply Japanese concepts to their daily routines. One-Punch Man’s Saitama has many reasons for forming a specific routine that works for him. Determined to fight an opponent that matches his strength, Saitama suffers from severe depression.

But through adhering to certain principles, Saitama can find ways to manage his depression and improve his mental health. Continue reading “Oubaitori Life: Saitama”

Pop Culture and Japan

Could Mental Health First Aid Catch On In Japan?

Mental health is perceived in different ways all over the world. In Japan, mental health has long held the association of being taboo. Yet people working themselves to death is commonplace, while younger generations are feeling more pressure to enter a lifetime of work.

However, in recent years, attitudes towards mental health in Japan have started to improve. More people are going to counselling services and openly recognising disorders like depression and PTSD as illnesses. As acceptance around mental health grows in Japan, a discipline that could be very beneficial in the future is mental health first aid (MHFA). Continue reading “Could Mental Health First Aid Catch On In Japan?”